Companies Vs FreelancersPublished
So, you want to hire a web developer but, now you’re faced with a choice. Should you go ahead and hire a freelancer, or get a web development company to make your site instead? Now, of course, being a freelancer myself I’m doing my utmost not to just shout “FREELANCER!” because ultimately that may not be the right choice for you or your business. It’s important for you to have a clear idea of what you want your site to do and to be because that will help you decide as both have advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before you commit to either. I suppose it’s like the difference between going to the supermarket or your local grocers (I’ll explain more down below).
Like the supermarket a web development company will be big, have lots of staff with each assigned to fulfil a specific role and as such will have a lot of options for you to choose from, but also a bit impersonal. They’ll usually be using the latest technologies always keeping up to date as they have the finance and rotational manpower to keep their staff trained while still working on multiple projects. This can be advantageous as sites can become outdated, and if old technology is being used to create the site, it will only age that much faster.
Because you’ll have a team of people working on your project, these will all be specialists in their field. Depending on the size of your project, this can bring down the time of completing it considerably compared to a freelancer.
However, one major issue is cost. Hiring a company will cost significantly more than a freelancer as that team will have costs such as salaries, office space, software licencing fees, supplementary staff such as HR or Reception, etc. Communication can also be an issue as you may not always get a direct line to your project leader (e.g. you may have to go through reception, or God-forbid, a call centre).
Now one final thing to consider is the size of your project. If the project is a big one, and time is an issue, hiring a company may be the sound choice as they’ll have the resources and manpower to get the job done.
Freelancers are your local grocers; they won’t have the range of services that the supermarket has, but they may specialise (think butcher or fishmonger) and can provide what you want, cheaper. Not mention organic and locally sourced. Ok, not so much the last part. But, being cheaper is correct. Since you’ll be dealing with an individual the costs will be substantially lower. What’s more you’ll have a direct line of communication with your freelancer compared to a company. You’ll also find that many freelancers end up specialising in a particular area. They may specialise in server-side scripting or cater exclusively to restaurants. This means if you have a specific job in mind, choosing a freelance may be the right call.
Now navigating the freelancer space can be overwhelming as there are many out there who offer their services at wildly different prizes. There can also be issues with some not making their deadlines, which can be doubly painful if paying an hourly rate (we’ll take a look at that in the next article), or taking on too many projects at once, neglecting yours. Personality clashes after the initial hire may creep up or maybe an accident has occurred, so, compared to a company, can’t be replaced so easily with another developer without having to start the hiring process (and by extension your project) over again. This makes it necessary to have a plan B should something go wrong.
But, if you have time, budgetary concerns or want personal contact with the person you’re hiring, the freelancer route could be the way to go.
The next step
The advice I would give would be to find a couple of freelancers and companies that catch your eye and get in touch with them. Let them know what you need. See how quickly they respond, and how they try to accommodate your needs. This should give you a very good idea which route you’ll want to take. But let’s say you’ve decided to got the freelancer route. Great! But that’s a big ocean to navigate. In the next article we’ll help you chart a course to the freelancer that’s just right for you.